And so we've had yet another bear meander through Harford County.
It appears, from witness reports and wildlife officials, that the bear moved east from Jacksonville in Baltimore County to just west of Aberdeen before making a left and heading generally north toward Pennsylvania via Susquehanna State Park.
He (or she – probably he, according to DNR officials) was last seen in the state park Wednesday. Some years back, the state parks were one of the only places in the Harford County area where someone might get a glimpse of a deer. Times have changed. There aren't many backyards in the county that haven't had a visit from a deer and too many folks consider them a nuisance, and that's only homeowners and not motorists.
Some time after that, there was disbelief over the presence of coyotes in Harford County. There are plenty of them now and not many people left who don't believe they're here.
Bears aren't nearly as ubiquitous, nor should anyone hope they become as familiar in Harford County as deer, but it's not surprising that we've had some semi-regular bear sightings. In fact, DNR statistics on bear sightings in central Maryland suggest Harford is among the most popular counties for these wandering bruins.
Wildlife doesn't get any memos limiting its range, which explains the unusual, but very natural, occurrences of some wild animals being spotted in Harford County that normally aren't supposed to be here, or at least so the most popular field guides would have us believe.
There was a manatee hanging around Havre de Grace. And a snowy owl dropped in for a brief time. There was also a brown pelican that took up residence for some weeks on a sand bar off the east side Tydings Island in Havre de Grace. That episode was so unusual at the time that, in those pre-cell phone and Internet days, it was a topic that burned up the phone lines set up as birding hot lines. The brown pelican visit was so unusual it drew the interest of Roger Tory Peterson, the famed naturalist who was then well into the eighth decade of his life studying nature that he turned into popular field guides.
Bear sightings have become a little more common in Harford County in recent years, but not common enough yet to be shrugged off. There's still a child-like awe some have about seeing a bear in places they're not yet common.
Maybe not the awe the 6-year-old girl had when she looked out the window of her home west of Aberdeen Saturday and told her disbelieving mother and grandmother a bear was in their backyard, but awe nonetheless.
As this bear moves on and before the next one passes through, whenever that might be, enjoy nature and its routines and oddities equally.